June 15, 2007

Why Do Employees Leave?

All this talk about career change got me thinking. Why do employees leave their companies in the first place? So I did a little research, and here's what I found.

According to the book How Full Is Your Bucket, the #1 reason that employees leave is that they do not feel appreciated. (This is cited as a Department of Labor statistic as reported in the Lincoln Journal Star; however, I called the Department of Labor and could not find any statistics to support this claim.) To expound on this theory, if co-workers and managers would share more positive energy, statements, etc. about us and our performance, then we would feel happier and more valued (a.k.a your bucket would be more full). To a certain degree, this makes sense. If you can make work a better, more fun and rewarding place to be, then employees wouldn't leave.

Then I happened upon a
blog by "Retention Expert" Greg Smith. He posits that employees leave because of poor people skills within the management team. More specifically, he notes that "employees don't quit their companies, they quit their bosses." Many of us will probably look back on some of our worst bosses, and without a doubt say that they were the primary reason for our leaving. I know I can.

So this begs the question...what if our worst bosses could have learned to provide positive reinforcement and regular accolades in a form that was rewarding to you? Would that have made a difference? Would you have stayed?

I'd like to hear your opinion.


Anonymous said...

I had a former boss who made me feel completely appreciated, as did she with everyone else... she would give awards away, ask what, if anything, you 'needed' to make your job better and the next day it was there. It kept me happy for a long while and was the reason it was hard to leave. However, she also had poor management skills and I found myself having to add any structure to the firm. I had several employees tell me their frustrations of not having set rules, not having forms or "a way" of doing things...everything was an experimeht almost, no structure. It caused other employees to leave prior to my grand exit, but the reason for my unhappiness was truly the poor management. In this case, I had the best of your first scenario but the bad management and lack of structure far outweighed this in the end!

Anonymous said...

Personally speaking, feeling appreciated will definitely earn my loyalty and my existence with a company longer. However, at the same time, I also need to feel that I am gaining enough knowledge to advance in my career. Few things in life are guaranteed, and I need to feel I am learning the right skill sets enough to think that if anything happens in company A, I can easily adapt in company B. There definitely has to be some sort of balance between the two.